by Mary S. W., Work-Study, IHF Nakuru
The beautiful thing about Nakuru is that it brings the expected and unexpected together, at the same time and in many different ways. Though various people may seem a bit skeptical of traveling and immersing themselves in such a new environment, I have felt more love in these past couple days by heart-warming natures than ever when visiting a new country or city. Yes, one may need to be aware at times as in any new place, but Nakuru is full of big hearts in an active community. For instance, when riding the “piki” (a vehicle that, in my eyes, is a mix between a Vespa and a motorcycle, takes you from place to place as a taxi would); as I tend to flag a “piki” into town, I will often catch myself awkwardly grinning from ear to ear, as I see the reality that surrounds me through the transit. Nakuru brings to life some of the fond images I have seen via films through time, and, I imagine, I may feel a bit as some foreigners feel when arriving in America after watching its films for years. It is surreal to have it all come to live, and it is much more impressive in person.
Though there are serious adjustments one must make when new to a developing country, some of the resources that seem the most unlikely to be helpful, are exactly the ones that carry out the job the best. This even comes down to the food that I choose to eat. At times, it is the restaurant with a couple of benches and few pots that I prefer over the one with a bar and a TV. As both offer great service and wonderful personalities, it is foolish to miss out on either. Yet, these ideas only scratch the surface of what makes Nakuru so special, because the IHF Center is FULL of some of the most carefree loving souls I have ever encountered. Upon my arrival, a handful of the many kids enjoying their Sunday were hugging and welcoming me in as if I was nothing of a stranger and every bit of a future friend. I got lucky on my date of arrival, since the kids were home from school and the IHF family was around to hang out.
Accordingly, the next day, when I went into town to learn the ropes, discovering great food and more culture, I ended up not getting back until after the kid’s bedtime; correspondingly, I realized that I missed their presence and didn’t want to miss out on the little moments with them due to the international tasks. Thus, I decided then and there to stick to my currently unraveling schedule, that I would work up with the dedicated minds around: 5-6 hours for school, walk, laugh, and support the Center in the morning beauty, and then leave to get the international work done as well. Thus, I will be able to return for lunch with them on time as a break, and, afterwards, be able to tie up any loose ends before the evening. I am looking forward to playing football, reading books, helping with homework, learning everyone’s names by heart, having spa nights with the girls, cooking together, etc.
As much as I am enjoying and appreciating the time spent with the rest of the local community as well, I am only here for the Kenyan winter (even though with the temperatures as they are, it is hard for me to remember that it is not their summer), so I do not want to miss out on the opportunity that I have to be there for the kids, learn from them, absorb what it takes to run an NGO, and take-in the normal everyday life of Kenyans.
IHF Nakuru is situated in a rural space in the midst of the fourth largest city the country has –it is a very special place to serve, learn, and love. I am eager to experience all that awaits in these next two months.